Report: Oxygen-depleted ‘dead zone’ growing in GulfCNN; updated 9:26 p.m. EDT, Tue July 17, 2007
"Dead zone" is at the end of the
When algae die, decay consumes oxygen
Zone would be the largest measured since mapping began in 1985
The forecast, released Monday by the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, is based on a federal estimate of nitrogen from the Mississippi River watershed to the
The "dead zone" in the northern Gulf, at the end of the
The pollution is carried downstream by the
Excess nutrients can spur the growth of algae, and when the algae die, their decay consumes oxygen faster than it can be brought down from the surface. As a result, fish, shrimp and crabs can be forced to move or die, the consortium Web site says.
Eugene Turner, a professor of oceanography and coastal sciences at
However, "we really don’t want to mess with this, to make it worse," he said.
The dead zone usually begins forming in the spring and stays through summer and into the fall. Though the size of the dead zone has shrunk some years, on average it has steadily grown larger, Turner said.
If the prediction stands, it would be the largest dead zone measured since mapping began in 1985, the report says. The consortium has scheduled an assessment of the dead zone for summer’s end.
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